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Nov 7, 2021 at 8.30pm UK
DC UnitedDC United
Laryea (18')
Dwyer (74')
FT(HT: 1-3)
Birnbaum (13'), Kamara (30' pen., 36')
Felipe (65'), Pines (76'), Mora (85'), Birnbaum (90')

Preview: Toronto vs. DC United - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Toronto vs. DC United - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Major League Soccer clash between Toronto and DC United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

As we head into Decision Day on Sunday in Major League Soccer, DC United need a win in their regular-season finale versus Toronto if they want to have any hope of making the playoffs.

The Black-and-Red are longshots to extend their season, currently sitting three points behind the final postseason position in the Eastern Conference, while TFC will miss the cut for the first time since 2018.

Match preview

The most successful Canadian franchise in MLS have one more match to go before they finish off a campaign that has been one of their worst since entering the league in 2007.

With only 28 points, a victory will keep them from either equalling or setting a new club record for the fewest points in a 34-game MLS season, with that current mark set at 29 points for them in 2013.

This could very well be the last hurrah for several veteran players, as TFC seem to be in a rebuilding phase after coming off a 2020 campaign in which they finished the regular season in second place in the Eastern Conference.

You do not need to be a soccer genius to figure out why the Reds are in their current position (13th in the Eastern Conference), as they have conceded the second-most goals in the league (63) and scored the third-fewest (38) in their conference.

With all the doom and gloom over TFC in 2021, you have to give them credit for at the very least fighting hard despite being out of the playoff picture for quite some time.

They have conceded the opening goal in their last seven MLS affairs but have come back to pick up a draw in five of those fixtures, and there is still something for them to play for as the Reds advanced to the final of the Canadian Championship with a 2-1 win over Pacific on Wednesday.

Their playoff destiny is no longer in their hands, as Hernan Losada and his team are at risk of missing the postseason in back-to-back campaigns for the first time in a decade.

This team have lived on the edge game in and game out with some spectacular results, including a 7-1 win versus this same Toronto side, which led to the early exit of Chris Armas as TFC coach, but they have also had some poor results, such as a 6-0 defeat to New York City FC.

Starting strong has not been an issue for the Black-and-Red this season, but consistency for 90 minutes has, scoring first in three of their previous four fixtures but winning only once.

They come into this match winless in six consecutive road fixtures, and they need to change that this weekend and also hope that the New York Red Bulls lose and that CF Montreal either lose or draw.

If DC cannot qualify for the postseason, they have only themselves to blame, as they create a ton of chances, but despite scoring plenty of times (53), they concede their share of goals as well (53).

Missing the playoffs would mark an unfortunate end to what has been a solid bounce-back campaign for this franchise, who were 13th in the Eastern Conference in the shortened 2020 season, winning only five games.

Toronto Major League Soccer form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • D

Toronto form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • D
  • D
  • W

DC United Major League Soccer form:
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • W
  • L

Team News

Jacob Shaffelburg has been a bright spot for TFC in 2021, as he had a goal and an assist to help the Reds advance to a sixth-straight Canadian Championship final.

Jozy Altidore had the other Toronto goal on Thursday and has now found the back of the net in three of his last four matches in all competitions - tying him for the team lead with Jonathan Osorio at four this year.

Javier Perez has a long list of injuries to contend with in their final regular-season affair as Richie Laryea, Alex Bono, Omar Gonzalez, Dom Dwyer, Eriq Zavaleta, Ifunanyachi Achara, Yeferson Soteldo and Tsubasa Endoh are all questionable with lower-body injuries, Ralph Priso is out after undergoing ankle surgery and Ayo Akinola will sit this one out due to a torn ACL.

Bill Hamid and Steve Birnbaum each made their 20th appearance of the year for DC last Saturday, just a few days after Birnbaum collected his 200th career cap with the Black-and-Red in their 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls.

Paul Arriola recorded his sixth goal of the year in their defeat to the Columbus Crew, putting him in second on the team, well behind Ola Kamara, who has not scored since the end of September in a 3-1 win over Minnesota United.

Frederic Brillant and Edison Flores are out with calf injuries, Moses Nyeman has a quad issue, and Yordy Reyna returned to game action as a substitute over the weekend.

Toronto possible starting lineup:
Westberg; Morrow, Gonzalez, Lawrence, Marshall-Rutty; Delgado, Okello, DeLeon; Mullins; Altidore, Shaffelburg

DC United possible starting lineup:
Hamid; Najar, Birnbaum, Pines; Gressel, Martins, Reyna, Robertha; Arriola, Kamara, Abila

We say: Toronto 2-1 DC United

DC picked a bad time to start struggling and with the pressure on them to earn a victory and get some help, their mind could be on other results rather than focused squarely on what they have to do to win.

It is the final home game of the season for Toronto, and if it is the last encounter for the veterans like Altidore and Michael Bradley, they will want to leave them with something positive to remember their time here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data

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